Do Mothballs Keep Lizards Away?

Before using mothballs in any way, check if it is legal and okay with your local pesticide regulations. For example, the US is strict on pesticide use, and using mothballs in a way that is not described on the label could be is a crime.

Mothballs can repel lizards because they contain dichlorobenzene which releases a strong odor that is unpleasant to them. If lizards happen to eat mothballs, they will die since they are highly toxic. However, the chances of lizards eating them are very low even if you are using modern odorless mothballs.

When mothballs are used in the open, they are less effective because the fumes are designed to cover a small area. Mothballs are not an effective way to deter lizards unless they come close to them. The fumes released by their chemical components should never be let indoors where there are humans and pets.

Mothballs for Lizards
Mothballs for Keeping Lizards Away

Is it safe to use moth balls for lizards?

Generally, it is not safe to use mothballs to deter or kill lizards at home especially if you have children and pets. Mothballs have an interesting look and they would like to touch, smell and taste them.

If you have to use them, be extra careful and watch where you place them. Mothballs are dangerous to use in the open and if possible, find other alternatives.

In the old days, moth balls contained high concentration of naphthalene. Using it as a pesticide around the house was found to be deadly to both humans and animals. As time goes by, the chemical composition of moth balls have changed and naphthalene had been removed from it.

The naphthalene in traditional mothballs has since been replaced with dichlorobenzene. This new component. This makes the use of mothballs to deter pests at home much safer because it is not flammable like naphthalene.

However, it is still strong and harmful to humans and animals and should be used with caution. Additionally, mothballs should never be used at night in a room where you are sleeping.

Having an air conditioner with mothballs in a room is even worse. If possible, use other ways to repel lizards but do not use mothballs indoors since they may deter lizards but your well-being will be compromised.

How to use mothballs to repel lizards (pictures)

Put 3 pieces of mothballs in a small bowl and cover them using a fabric mesh. The mesh will ensure that nothing can touch or eat them while it will allow the fumes to spread out. Place this in the porch, patio, or any area where you don’t want the lizards. This will keep them away.

Step 1

Cover your hands in gloves and grab 3 pieces of mothballs

Mothballs for lizards

Step 2

Place them in a clean dry bowl

Mothballs for lizards in a bowl

Step 3

Cover the bowl with a mesh that will allow the mothballs’ gas to be released as shown below. Then place it in places where you want to deter the lizards.

Mothballs for lizards covered with a mesh

To keep lizards from your plants, place the bowl near them. Ensure that this is not used in a closed room. The bowls can also be used along the perimeter of your garden to deter lizards and other insects. Those will also keep snakes away from your compound.

Those bowls can also be placed around the porch and patio to deter lizards and other pests. Mothballs for roaches in potted house plants can also help in keeping lizards away since they prey on those bugs.

As long as they are used in minimal quantities and kept away from the seats, they should be fine. It is also a good idea to place them near the toilet windows especially if the window is facing a bush.

Mothballs work by changing from solid to gas without passing through the liquid state. This is why placing them in a meshed bowl is a good idea if you want to use them around the house. It is important to use them in small quantities and place them in strategic places where you know the pests will find them.  

Can mothballs repel lizards outdoors?

Mothballs will repel lizards but it is a temporary solution because they are made to be used in bags that are air-tight to repel and kill insects in clothing. When left in the open, they will lose their pungent smell very fast. This will make them more of a hazard to the animals around because they may eat them.

There is totally no point in using mothballs outdoors. Whatever the situation that you have, there are several other alternatives that can work against outdoor lizards. Mothballs placed in the open are not effective like those placed in an air-tight bag.

Another danger of using mothballs around the house is that pets or animals eat them out of curiosity. If that happens, mothballs will cause nausea and even lead to severe liver damage if ingested in excess.

Mothballs contain ingredients that are active and those can have negative impacts on the soil. Using mothballs to repel lizards in potted plants or the garden can destabilize the PH levels in the soil. This is why the best way to use them is to place them in a sealed container.

Termites can produce nepheline which is found in mothballs. Once they make a habitat with a colony, termites in trees or any other place release naphthalene to protect their habitats from other intruders like lizards and ants.

Based on facts from  UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) When the disadvantages of using mothballs for lizards are compared to the advantages, the negative side will win. Therefore, using it for lizards or other pests like slugs on a porch where pets or humans spend lots of time is not advisable.


  • Felix Odi

    Hi, I’m an experienced author and content creator with over 18 years of experience as a publisher. Growing up in rural areas of Bristol, FL, I developed an interest in pest control, fish farming, and poultry keeping. Farming is a main activity in the area, and pests are always part of our major setbacks. I had to learn how to get rid of them with simple DIYs.